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Poor Bass with headphones
Liner
post Jan 11 2013, 06:43
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Hello, I have recently purchased a new laptop and was a little turned off when I realized the audio quality was less than impressive (I wasn't expecting much to begin with). I thought that when I used my pair of earbuds it would sound better as I know that the quality of the bass, when I used the headphones in my other computer or mp3 player, is very good. But when I use them in my laptop I get almost no bass and overall poor sound quality. I, yesterday, purchased a pair of over ear headphone (turtlebeach Z2) and still the audio quality didn't improve whatsoever. I know from experience with other turtle beach products that they have excellent bass processing, at least better than what I am getting now. Is there anything I can do to get the full sound quality that I should be getting. I hope I don't get responses saying that its my earbuds/beaches that are the problem, because I know from experience that they both have excellent bass capabilities when used in my computer, xbox, mp3 player, etc.... I have seen a few other threads on this, but haven't really found an answer. Any help would be much appreciated!
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Seren
post Jan 11 2013, 07:20
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Only thing I can suggest is to look for sound drivers for the laptop or turn off any added effects the OEM may have activated.
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mzil
post Jan 11 2013, 07:34
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Any possiibiity you haven't pushed them in far enough so you are hearing the out of phase [L-R] component of the stereo music? Does the base of the headphone plug sit flush to the surface of the headphone jack or is there a gap where you can insert a thin object, like a sheet of paper?
[This same problem can occur even if the phones are plugged in all the way, but there is a bad solder connection internally. Wiggling the jack during use can sometimes cure it for a moment.]

This post has been edited by mzil: Jan 11 2013, 07:42
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Dynamic
post Jan 11 2013, 11:03
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QUOTE (Seren @ Jan 11 2013, 06:20) *
Only thing I can suggest is to look for sound drivers for the laptop or turn off any added effects the OEM may have activated.


Or possibly on the old laptop you had some effect activated to suit your tastes which is not active on the new laptop.

For example in Windows 7, there's usually something like:
Volume Context Menu/Playback Devices/[specific device used]/Properties/Enhancements/Bass Boost (or possibly even Room Correction)
that can affect the frequency response as well as Disable All Enhancements.

(On my laptop, I have a separate entry for headphones, but the Speakers setting controls both headphones and speakers, so try something to check you're adjusting or checking the right 'playback device')

I guess we can eliminate high output impedance trying to drive a low-impedance load, because your Turtlebeach Z2 are 32 ohm impedance and the earbuds are likely to be similar, which ought to be fine.

Does the Z2 have a combined microphone and headphone 3.5mm jack plug? That might be a potential problem in a standard stereo headphone-only socket perhaps.

Also there are some audio devices specifically tailored to be non-flat (e.g. ~20 dB bass boost present in one 'stylish' CD player's headphone jack & speaker output with no adjustment available).

A loopback test (or input to a PC soundcard with a line-in port - usually lacking on laptops) might be revealing if there's a problem with your settings. You could compare the spectrum of captured and original audio or even run a RMAA test.
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Liner
post Jan 11 2013, 20:35
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QUOTE (Dynamic @ Jan 11 2013, 05:03) *
QUOTE (Seren @ Jan 11 2013, 06:20) *
Only thing I can suggest is to look for sound drivers for the laptop or turn off any added effects the OEM may have activated.


Or possibly on the old laptop you had some effect activated to suit your tastes which is not active on the new laptop.

For example in Windows 7, there's usually something like:
Volume Context Menu/Playback Devices/[specific device used]/Properties/Enhancements/Bass Boost (or possibly even Room Correction)
that can affect the frequency response as well as Disable All Enhancements.

(On my laptop, I have a separate entry for headphones, but the Speakers setting controls both headphones and speakers, so try something to check you're adjusting or checking the right 'playback device')

I guess we can eliminate high output impedance trying to drive a low-impedance load, because your Turtlebeach Z2 are 32 ohm impedance and the earbuds are likely to be similar, which ought to be fine.

Does the Z2 have a combined microphone and headphone 3.5mm jack plug? That might be a potential problem in a standard stereo headphone-only socket perhaps.

Also there are some audio devices specifically tailored to be non-flat (e.g. ~20 dB bass boost present in one 'stylish' CD player's headphone jack & speaker output with no adjustment available).

A loopback test (or input to a PC soundcard with a line-in port - usually lacking on laptops) might be revealing if there's a problem with your settings. You could compare the spectrum of captured and original audio or even run a RMAA test.


I am not, by any means, an expert, so if you could give me a few steps on things I could check that may be the problem. And no there are separate 3.5mm jacks for the microphone and headphone. Now when I go to my sound devices my turtle beaches are not there, they are controlled via the speakers, is this normal? And how could I go about changing any effects that the OEM may have activated?

Maybe I should've explained better, I was referring to my old desktop, which has a set of crappy speakers connected to it via the front audio jack, and I plug my headphones into the jack on the actual speakers.

How could I go about doing a loopback test or RMAA test, and if I could get a bit more info on these that would be excellent.

Thank you all for your time
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Liner
post Jan 11 2013, 20:40
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QUOTE (Dynamic @ Jan 11 2013, 05:03) *
QUOTE (Seren @ Jan 11 2013, 06:20) *
Only thing I can suggest is to look for sound drivers for the laptop or turn off any added effects the OEM may have activated.


Or possibly on the old laptop you had some effect activated to suit your tastes which is not active on the new laptop.

For example in Windows 7, there's usually something like:
Volume Context Menu/Playback Devices/[specific device used]/Properties/Enhancements/Bass Boost (or possibly even Room Correction)
that can affect the frequency response as well as Disable All Enhancements.

(On my laptop, I have a separate entry for headphones, but the Speakers setting controls both headphones and speakers, so try something to check you're adjusting or checking the right 'playback device')

I guess we can eliminate high output impedance trying to drive a low-impedance load, because your Turtlebeach Z2 are 32 ohm impedance and the earbuds are likely to be similar, which ought to be fine.

Does the Z2 have a combined microphone and headphone 3.5mm jack plug? That might be a potential problem in a standard stereo headphone-only socket perhaps.

Also there are some audio devices specifically tailored to be non-flat (e.g. ~20 dB bass boost present in one 'stylish' CD player's headphone jack & speaker output with no adjustment available).

A loopback test (or input to a PC soundcard with a line-in port - usually lacking on laptops) might be revealing if there's a problem with your settings. You could compare the spectrum of captured and original audio or even run a RMAA test.


I am not, by any means, an expert with audio devices, so if you could give me a few steps on things I could check that may be the problem and how to access these certain. And no there are separate 3.5mm jacks for the microphone and headphone respectively. Now when I go to my sound devices my turtle beaches are not there, they are controlled via the speakers, is this normal? And how could I go about changing any effects that the OEM may have activated?

Maybe I should've explained better, I was referring to my old desktop, which has a set of crappy speakers connected to it via the front audio jack, and I plug my headphones into the jack on the actual speakers.

How could I go about doing a loopback test or RMAA test, and if I could get a bit more info on these that would be excellent.

Also, I'm not sure if this will help, but I have Realtek audio driver with version 6.0.1.6649

Thank you all for your time

PS, I apologize for the double post of nearly the exact same post. I clicked a few too many buttons and refreshed the page and it had been added twice.

This post has been edited by Liner: Jan 11 2013, 20:41
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Prince Of All Sa...
post Jan 12 2013, 05:00
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It's entirely possible the laptop you purchased has a subpar audio processor. I'm not sure if they've gotten better at it, but for a while laptop audio was noticeably worse than that of a desktop. I know they're now marketing some laptops with Beats audio, so I guess they're at least making an effort, but I can't say anything towards the quality. Like Dynamic said, check your sound processor's settings. If it's Realtek, something must be amiss as it's a very good sounding audio processor.

This post has been edited by Prince Of All Saiyans: Jan 12 2013, 05:02
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saratoga
post Jan 12 2013, 06:20
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QUOTE (Liner @ Jan 11 2013, 14:40) *
How could I go about doing a loopback test or RMAA test, and if I could get a bit more info on these that would be excellent.


Plug cable from the headphone jack to the line in jack. Run RMAA. Its pretty self explanatory.
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Liner
post Jan 12 2013, 07:15
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QUOTE (Prince Of All Saiyans @ Jan 11 2013, 23:00) *
It's entirely possible the laptop you purchased has a subpar audio processor. I'm not sure if they've gotten better at it, but for a while laptop audio was noticeably worse than that of a desktop. I know they're now marketing some laptops with Beats audio, so I guess they're at least making an effort, but I can't say anything towards the quality. Like Dynamic said, check your sound processor's settings. If it's Realtek, something must be amiss as it's a very good sounding audio processor.


After thoroughly checking through my sound settings, I have not found anything that has changed the quality of the audio. And when I need to download RMAA I cannot get onto their website (it appears to be down) so I guess I will have to wait until the site comes back online. Once I do a test with it I will post the results here. Once again I will say thank you everyone for your help, I hope I can get a solution to my problem. Nothing I have tried has worked as of yet. I will keep everyone posted.
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skamp
post Jan 12 2013, 09:45
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QUOTE (Dynamic @ Jan 11 2013, 11:03) *
I guess we can eliminate high output impedance trying to drive a low-impedance load, because your Turtlebeach Z2 are 32 ohm impedance and the earbuds are likely to be similar, which ought to be fine.


Why can we eliminate the possibility of high output impedance? It's pretty common with onboard audio, and discrete sound cards as well (75-100Ω!). Here's how to measure it.

Also, here are instructions on how to run RMAA. Replace the iPod with the source that you want to measure (e.g. your PC).

This post has been edited by skamp: Jan 12 2013, 09:48


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Dynamic
post Jan 12 2013, 16:14
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Sorry for the misleading guess. I thought that 32 ohm was so common that nobody would design such high output impedance in anything beyond, possibly a tiny device only intended for small earphones. I've certainly never had a PC or laptop that has struggled.

The RMAA download page including manuals is here, and I know some of the links on their site have changed to .shtml instead of html and some of the in-page links there haven't been updated to .shtml which might be why the site wasn't responding, if you'd clicked on direct links from articles about using RMAA.

If you don't happen to have a 3.5mm jack cable at the moment (I have a few, but I've been messing around with sound for years!), some soundcards have an internal loopback to record the analogue output (it's called Rec. Playback on the recording devices of my HP laptop) which won't eliminate all potential sources of problems and test your whole system thoroughly, but it should allow RMAA to identify any problem that lies 'upstream' from the point where the signal is tapped off.
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uart
post Jun 1 2013, 08:21
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QUOTE (skamp @ Jan 12 2013, 01:45) *
Why can we eliminate the possibility of high output impedance? It's pretty common with onboard audio, and discrete sound cards as well (75-100Ω!).

Indeed. This is almost certainly just a case of too high impedance of the onboard audio (specifically too lower valued coupling capacitors). Loss of bass when driving headphones is a fairly common problem with onboard audio.

QUOTE (Liner @ Jan 11 2013, 12:35) *
Maybe I should've explained better, I was referring to my old desktop, which has a set of crappy speakers connected to it via the front audio jack, and I plug my headphones into the jack on the actual speakers.

Then to test the problem you simply need to connect your new laptop to your crappy powered speakers, and then plug your headphones into the speaker's headphones jack. If this resolves the bass issue then it is 100% certain that it's an output impedance problem.

Assuming that output impedance is the issue, then the best way to overcome this is of course to use a headphones amplifier. (BTW, the crappy powered speakers were effectively providing a crude phones amplifier in the test I mentioned above.)

If you don't really want to spend money on a headphones amplifier then there is one other simple option, though it's a bit of a compromise. You can buy a headphone extension cable with an inline volume control (about $2 on ebay). These are typically just a 1k to 2k pot, so as long as you don't max out the (inline) volume you can effectively increase your phones impedance to about 500 ohms or more.

Of course you have to have enough volume headroom from your onboard output to compensate for the added attenuation, but assuming that you can still get adequate volume then this is a remarkably simple method of regaining your bass response. I've used the method with various devices (including onboard sound and very cheap nasty mp3 players) to good effect.

This post has been edited by uart: Jun 1 2013, 08:25
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